After setting your conference’s agenda, it’s time to fill it up with discussion. But a random assortment of speakers will never leave a lasting impression. Talks must connect with each other and build momentum that propels the event forward to a climax. In other words, a conference must tell a story.

Your conference’s programme isn’t just a schedule. It provides the structure for your story, giving time for ideas to develop and people to come together. Like any other narrative, it must have a beginning, a middle, and an end.

Keynote Speech | Conference

The Beginning

The opening address or keynote speech will set the tone for your conference. Let that honor be taken by the best regarded speaker that you can invite. 

The Middle

The meat of the conference will require considerable thought. It should be broken up into several sessions but these have many forms. Some are:

Lectures | Conference

Lectures

Oral presentations on a particular subjec

Symposiums | Conference

Symposiums

More casual gatherings with snacks and entertainmen

Round-Table-Discussions | Conference

Round-Table-Discussions

Peers who share their opinions on a certain topic. It’s named after the often used round table that enables the participants to easily face each othe

Panels | Conference

Panels

A group of people discussing a topic in front of an audienc

Seminars | Conference

Seminars

Educational discussions on a specific topic with higher emphasis on interaction

Workshops | Conference

Workshops

Speakers focus on demonstrations and activities instead of tal

The type of sessions you choose must match your agenda for the conference and be meaningful to your audience. You should also consider whether your sessions should be in the form of a plenary, where one session is happening at a time, or breakout sessions, where multiple sessions occur simultaneously. Or both. Sessions usually from 45 minutes to three hours.

Networks acquired in the event | Conference

The End

The climax of the conference should make an impression on the participants. It’s ideal to end on a high note, motivating people or challenging them to utilize the ideas and the networks acquired in the event.

Writing a conference proggramme | Conference

But Wait…

Writing a conference proggramme isn’t just about the sessions. Other activities should also be included, especially if they advance the conference goals. For example, mixers can encourage participants to meet and network while a tour can help them understand a place under discussion. 

Good program design attempts to use different types of sessions to heighten engagement and create multiple layers of experiences. It leads attendees from passive listening to participating in the discussion and activities. With this structure and careful thought to the programme, you can create motivated participants who want to share your message to everyone. 

But when and where is the best place to hold conference? Find out in the next installment! Subscribe!